Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Spot

I'm a guest blogger on Mile High Mamas today!  I share my personal experience with therapy and how it has helped me.  This is always a sensitive subject to discuss but I feel it is important to share.  So many people have hang-ups about therapy, mostly because they don't truly understand how it works.  Or perhaps they don't even know where to begin.  Therapy isn't for everyone but I strongly urge you to give it a try if you feel there is a need.

My number one goal for sharing this with you is that you don't view seeking help as a sign of weakness.  You are not weak, you are aware.  You know that you can no longer go through the motions or "get through" your everyday life.  Getting through every day isn't the way to live.  You deserve more and you are capable of having more.  It will require work, it will require time and patience, but you will find it is worth it.  Even the smallest change in your behavior can have such an enormous impact.  I encourage you to research your options, ask questions, and take the first step toward a happier, healthier you!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Up in Smoke

Our beloved state of Colorado is currently being ravaged by numerous wildfires.  From far north to far south and places in between, tens of thousands of people are being evacuated and forced to flee their homes.  A significant number of homes have been destroyed, and lives have been lost.  With the current weather conditions of extremely hot and dry days, firefighters are not only battling the flames they are also struggling with Mother Nature.  

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The Waldo Canyon Fire is also a threat to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.  Cadets are being forced to evacuate as their entire campus is threatened by fierce blaze.

As I was driving home yesterday listening to the radio spewing more bad news with no end in sight I started to think about all of those people leaving their homes.  How hard that must be to pack up and leave not knowing if there will ever be anything to come back to.  If I was told I had 5 minutes to pack my things and leave what would I pack?

Of course the ultimate concern is making sure all of the family, including the pets, are out safely.  The lives of loved ones takes the utmost precedence.  But when it comes to belongings, the "things" that make our house a home, what would I reach for?  Photos?  Heirlooms? Would it even matter? 

I can't even think of one single "thing" that is so important to me if I never got it back I would be devastated.  The "things" can be replaced, for the most part, so apart from grabbing my purse hopefully containing my wallet and phone the only other thing I can think of is the file folder we have that contains our birth certificates, pass ports, marriage license, Baby Boy's birth certificate, etc.  Those are important items to have, right?  It seems like a trivial thing to be thinking about while all of this terrible devastation is occurring but it is still something to think about and reminds you what's really important in life.

Please say a prayer for all of those that have lost a loved one from these fires, that are fleeing their homes with nowhere to go,  for all of the firefighters battling a daunting task, for Mother Nature to send us some rain, and for the numerous volunteers and good will ambassadors that are helping in any way they can.  Please pray for Colorado.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Take Care

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I've been out of commission for a while due to a virus-coughing-awful-feeling-sickness thingy.  I first told you I had come down with something on June 4th...  it never went away!! In fact, it got worse.  I know!  The nerve!  Your immune system is weaker when you're pregnant and you are more vulnerable to illness.  Additionally, if you do get sick your body can have a hard time recovering. 

After numerous sleepless nights from coughing fits and a sore throat I threw in the towel and went to my doctor.  It took me so long to do this because I was always told there wasn't much they could do for you if you're pregnant because you shouldn't take any medications.  My OB/GYN had given me a list of over-the-counter meds that were safe if you have a cold but the dosages they recommend are so miniscule that it really doesn't do anything to help you.  I had been suffering for three weeks and knew I wasn't going to get better by "toughing it out" any longer. 

The doctor took one look inside my throat and told me it had growth and was red and swollen.  Then she proceeded to give me a throat culture.  Fun Fact: I have had a fear of throat cultures since I was a little girl.  I would rather get a shot than a stupid throat culture.  In fact, when I was little I would have to sit on my hands and often times the nurse would have me in a head lock just to get their swab inside my mouth.  If they didn't take these measures I'd swat their hand away instinctively!  And by "little girl" I mean 5 years to highschool. :-/  The kicker... I never had strep!  I've only had strep twice in  my life.  Once in college and once after Baby Boy was born.  Even this recent throat culture came back negative.  But the doctor felt I had a virus of some sort and from what she saw in my throat thought antibiotics were in order.  Hallelujah!!!  They were safe to take while pregnant and within 24 hours I was feeling somewhat normal again.

I stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday and although I was on the mend by Tuesday I still felt it was important to take one last day for recovery.  Plus, I needed a mental health day.  Do you ever need those?  A day where you just need to be by yourself, alone with your thoughts, recharge your battery, and then get back to the grind?  I needed that day badly.  I've been in a funk and I could feel it getting worse and worse so I knew a day to recharge was crucial.  If I don't listen to my mind and my body and don't take time out like that I can really find myself in a dark place, and getting out of that place is much harder to do if I don't nip it in the bud.  Luckily I also had a therapy session yesterday which was perfect timing and I was able to reflect on how I was feeling and why I was in a funk.  It was extremely helpful and cleansing.  Then I did what any normal person would do...  I went home, somehow found myself in even more of a terrible mood (even after my cleansing therapy session) and proceeded to argue with my husband.  Because that makes sense, right?!?!?  Of course it DOESN'T!!  What was I thinking?!?

I'm frustrated and stressed out about so many things and they certainly need to be addressed, but maybe I should not have chose this time to address them.  Luckily I was able to keep "crazy hormonal Kendra" at bay during our discussion and in some ways I think even having the argument was somewhat cleansing.  Does that make any kind of sense at all?

So over the course of a few days I was able to "cleanse" my body by ridding it of illness with meds.  Cleanse my mind with a much needed therapy session and cleanse my relationship of stresses that needed to be dealt with.  It was dificult, somewhat successful and completely necessary all at the same time.  Throughout all of it I was taking care of myself and listening to my body and mind.  That is hard to do sometimes.  As mothers and women in general, we tend to struggle through things because we can't let ourselves be weak or vulneralbe.  We have to stay strong for everyone around us and we often times lose track of our own needs.  I was ignoring the signs that I needed some space and time for me until I found myself in desperation mode.  I was physically sick and worn down and I was coming apart at the seams emotionally.

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 Taking care of ourselves is so important and even more so if you are pregnant.  Not only is it important to take care of our physical health but our mental health as well.  Don't find yourself in desperation mode like me.  Take some time to have space for yourself.  Tell people "no" every once in a while if you are feeling overwhelmed.  Do something that you love and don't always get time to do.  Go to the doctor.  Visit your therapist or if you don't have one call up your best friend, sister, mom, etc.  You aren't weak you just need to recharge your battery.  And one last thing...  don't pick a fight with your husband.  If he's anything like mine he doesn't deserve it and you can still address your concerns in a constructive way another time without fighting.

So, go forth.  Be the fabulous woman you are, give yourself a break and take care of yourself... And hug your husband.    

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Warning: Hormonal Pregnant Woman

Stupid hormones.  Why do they exist anyway?  Why is it that I'm fine and dandy then, BAM!!  I morph into a whole different person before I even now what happened?!?!  Why do I feel happy and content one minute, then feel overwhelmed with sadness and could cry at the drop of hat the next?

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It isn't fun.  Especially because I can't control myself.  I know deep down that as I am flying off the handle to Hubby about something I am completely over reacting, but I can't stop.  My blood pressure rises, the tears flood my eyes and my voice kicks into high gear.  It is all pretty ridiculous but I can't stop it.  What's hard is that whatever it is I am upset about is completely legit and is genuinely bothering me, but my reaction is what is uncalled for.  On a good day the same "problem" may still upset me but I'd be able to address it in a constructive and adult way.  On a hormonal whim however, I address the problem like a thirteen year old girl.  The issue at hand is still important to address but it loses all merit with my hormonal, out of control antics.

I don't remember being this way when I was pregnant with Baby Boy and I really don't like it.  I know it is part of the process and even when I'm not pregnant there are times when hormones get the better of me, but not like this.  This is a whole new level!!

Today is pretty bad.  I'm feeling down in the dumps and I want to burst into tears, crawl into bed and just cry until I feel better.  I don't know why.  Nothing has happened to me to make me feel this way but I can't shake it.  I attempted to cheer myself up by buying myself coffee and breakfast this morning but it didn't do the trick.  Plus I'm feeling bad about being a heinous you-know-what to Hubby this morning because I was upset about something silly.  Heck, I'm feeling bad about being a heinous you-know-what to Hubby a lot lately! :-/  I even had a hard time dropping Baby Boy off on my way to work this morning because his sweet little face was actually helping me to feel better.  (sigh) 

It's going to be a long day but it is also going to get better.  I am mindful of the fact that I need to work on my behavior a bit but it is also ok to admit I can't control the hormones and I am only human.  I'm doing the best that I can and although I could really use a giant hug and permission to cry it out, I also know that really won't solve anything.  So back to work I go hoping productivity will help distract me from this funk. 

Funk you, hormones!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dinosaurs, Fat Cheeks, and the Map of Italy

Today is my baby brother's birthday!  Except he is no longer a baby he is now 26 years old.  Which is crazy to me because I swear he is still my darling little brother and can't possibly be a young man!  My brother and I are five years apart so I have vivid memories of him as a baby.  I even remember the day my mom went to the hospital...

I was fast asleep in my giant water bed, which was a gift from my parents because I was no longer going to be the baby and I was going to have to share a room with said baby.  My parents entered my room, turned on the light and gently woke me up.  "Kendra... Kendra, you need to wake up..."  I can still remember looking up at my parents through groggy, tired eyes.  My Dad had his arm around my mom and she had a warm smile on her face and held her hands over her very pregnant belly.  "It's time," they whispered.

My brother was born and from that moment on I was so proud of him and loved him so much.  There are numerous pictures of me holding him and kissing him and attempting to carry him all over.  I was so proud of having a baby brother that I even took him to show-and-tell in Kindergarten!  My classmates were very impressed!

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 He was the most adorable, outgoing little boy.  He had a sweater that he would wear which had all sorts of different colors and patterns on it and he called it his, "rock and roll jacket."  He'd wear that "jacket" along with sunglasses and sing Rockin' Robin from start to finish into his playschool microphone.  He loved dinosaurs so much he became obsessed for a number of years.  His entire room was covered in dino's and he knew every obscure fact about the creatures.  He was 7 years old when Jurassic Park came out and you better believe we saw it opening weekend.  He was decked out in his favorite dinosaur shirt and literally sat on the edge of his seat throughout the entire movie.  That image is one of my very dearest of my baby brother...

Being an older sister was perfect because I was able to manipulate coax my brother into playing what ever I wanted.  If we played school, I always got to be the teacher.  I was constantly making up my own musicals and plays and he was always cast as some character, much to his chagrin.  My mom has even pointed out that I basically acted as his second mother because I would speak for him declaring things like, "Cody is hungry."  I simply loved and adored him.  

Of course we had our share of fights and mean spirited hitting or shoving matches.  We had invisible lines drawn that neither one was allowed to cross in the car.  We would threaten to "tell" on one another constantly and we had lovely nicknames for each other.  Cody's was, Fat Cheeks, because of the obvious.  Mine was, Fat Butt, because my brother knew I was self-conscious about my JLo booty at even a young age.  Then to make matters worse I crossed a major line and started to poke fun at his birth mark.  He was born with a red birth mark on the middle of his forehead that was ironically shaped like the map of Italy.  Yup, Italy's boot adorned my precious brothers head.  I reminded him of this every chance I got.  Turns out that some kids at school started to do the same thing and it literally crippled his confidence!  He begged and begged my parents to get it removed and they finally agreed.  To this day I have felt so terrible for making fun of something that was actually very unique and really wasn't that distinctive.  I feel terrible that I contributed to him being self-conscious about his appearance.  I've genuinely apologized to him on a number of occasions and it's all water under the bridge now.  

I may have been a mean sister at times but there have been times over the years that I think I've been pretty cool.  For example, my mom used to set an egg timer for us while cleaning our rooms.  If we didn't finish by the time it went off we would be in big trouble.  Mostly because she had told us numerous times to clean our rooms and we never did.  The egg timer was our last chance to avoid punishment.  I always finished my room with plenty of time to spare but my brother would easily get distracted and start playing instead of cleaning and before you knew it, the egg timer was getting down to the wire!  So when my mom would go upstairs I would gently turn back the time and help my brother finish.  {AWWWW, how sweet!}  Or how about when the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 1998 I picked my brother up early from school and took him to the big rally downtown to celebrate.  He thought I was the coolest person in the whole world that day.

There have been long conversations about life.  Questions answered about girls that he didn't want to ask mom.  Jokes, hugs, and some tears along the way.  He was even my "Man of Honor" at my wedding!  Today is my bratty little snot-nosed baby brother's birthday and I love and adore him today just as much as I did the day he was born.

You may be 26 now with a beard like Forest Gump's when he was running across America.  But you will forever and always be that little boy with big brown eyes, a birthmark and fat cheeks.  I love you and I'm so proud of you, Cody!  Happy Birthday!

Taken post Fat Cheeks and pre Forest Gump beard

Do you have a baby brother?  Do you still view them as that little boy?  Any fun sibling stories to share?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dinner Fit For a King

Ok, so maybe my husband isn't a real King but that doesn't mean he can't eat like one!  Yesterday for Father's Day I whipped up some amazingly delicious eats.  It was so much fun!  I haven't really cooked like that for so long because of how poorly I felt from little P-Nut.  But thankfully I have been back to my old self and I was chomping at the bit to get back in the kitchen.  What better occasion than Father's Day to spoil my husband and do some serious cooking!

I started off the day with breakfast in bed.  Sweet-spiced french toast was the perfect start to the day.  Accompanying the traditional toast batter of eggs and milk was cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, sugar and even some maple syrup.  For an added brightness of flavor I zested some orange straight into the batter.  It was a wonderful combination.  Baby Boy also got in on the cooking action helping me scoop out the spices and dumping them into the bowl.  My first time having him help me in the kitchen.  It was so much fun and it made it even more special for Dad that his son helped make breakfast too!

Breakfast was nice and all but the real star of the day was dinner.  I think you know this about me already, I am obsessed with the FoodNetwork.  I have been for years and years.  Watching cooking shows has been a pastime of mine since I was 20 years old.  Although I have many favorite chefs I would have to say my all time favorite is Giada De Laurentiis.  Her recipes are so simple, packed with flavor and healthy for you.  I have made more of her recipes than any other celebrity chef and I've even entertained with a number of her recipes.  I just love her!  So, let's get cooking!

Last night I made: Giada's Grilled Rib Eye with Tomato and Poblano Chili Sauce and my own Grilled Romaine Salad with a Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing.  For a starch we had beef rice from Rice-a-Roni because it is yummy, cheap and easy.

Grilled Rib Eye with Tomato and Poblano Chili Sauce



  • 2 large poblano chiles (about 5 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 8-ounce rib eye steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing


For the steaks: In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch, salt and pepper to blend evenly. Rub a generous 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture over each side of each steak to coat. Arrange the steaks on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. (This was a new technique for me.  I've never put cornstarch on top of a steak before grilling it.  It really did help to get a great crust!)

For the sauce: Place the chiles directly over a gas flame or place on a grill until blackened on all sides and softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Place the roasted chiles in a bowl. Cover and let them steam, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Peel the chiles. Cut off the stems, cut the chiles lengthwise in half and scrape out any seeds. Roughly chop the chiles.

Combine the oregano, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper in a mortar. Grind with a pestle to a coarse powder.  (I've been dying to use my mortar and pestle.  This used to be my grandma's so it was fun to get to use it!)

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the herb mixture and stir until fragrant and the oil is bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, tomato paste and the chopped poblanos.

Bring to a simmer, whisking to blend. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a ridged grill pan (preferably cast iron) over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Brush the pan with oil. Cook the steaks until the bottom is crusty, about 5 minutes. Flip the steaks over and cook again until the bottom is crusty, but the center is still medium-rare, about 4 minutes longer.

Transfer the steaks to a platter or individual plates. Let stand 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce alongside.

Seriously.  Make this TONIGHT!!!  The steak has a lovely crust but is still super juicy inside and the tomatoes offer a nice warmth of flavor with the poblanos giving a nice kick of spice. {insert Homer Simpson's drooling sound}   

Grilled Romaine Salad with a Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing 

Cut the romaine heart in half, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on the grill for about 2 minute per side.  You want to get nice charred grill marks.  That is goodness, do not be afraid!
For the dressing you will need:
Extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, course ground dijon mustard, salt and pepper

There isn't an exact recipe on this one.  I started with 1 tablespoon of mustard, 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar, and I whisked in the olive oil until I was pleased with the consistency.  Then add salt and pepper to taste.  I did end up adding a few more dashes of vinegar to mine.

We put grape tomatoes and some peppered bacon bits on our salad.  This was also a gigantic portion and in hindsight we probably could have shared one.  But it was Father's Day and I was making "Big Man Food!"

So there you have it!  I'm back people.  :) 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

It's been a kind of eerie day...  I stumbled across a couple of articles this morning of how emotional and hard Father's day can be if you are celebrating without a father.  We also had a wholesaler visit our office and share with us that his father recently passed away.  He said, "no matter if you are a little kid or a grown adult, it is the hardest thing to lose your dad."  Then I was reminded of those people that are dear to me that don't have their father's here to celebrate with.  As I sit here and write this I have tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and a tightness in my chest because I simply can't imagine a world without my father...

I'm a very lucky girl to have a dad that loves me so much.  He would tuck me in every night when I was little and have me select a music box from my collection, he would wind it up and I would fall asleep to its familiar chimes.  He would go to the "Dad and Me" breakfast at my elementary school.  He told me after every dance recital that he had a tear in his eye watching me on stage.  He wouldn't bat an eye when I would call him a number of nicknames that I had created from nowhere.  Names like, Daddy Paddy Pants and Popsi-lawn.  Don't ask, nicknames were my thing! 

He was, Running Wolf and I was, Hopping Rabbit in Indian Princesses (a father-daughter program kind of like boy scouts for girls).  I danced with him standing on his feet.  I was snotty to him when I was a teenager.  I grew closer to him while in college during a time when my family was going through a very rough patch.  I helped move him into my uncle's basement while he and my mother needed time and space to discover that they ultimately couldn't live without each other.  He proudly walked me down the isle to give me away... 

My father is the oldest of four boys.  He is a wonderful, kind man.  A loving husband, father and now... a grandfather.  He gets a kick out of his own jokes, he has his own unique style of dancing, and if you were ever lost in the woods with him you could relax because he has killer mountain man skills.  I absolutely adore my father.  I simply can't imagine a world without him.

If you will be celebrating this weekend without a father, you will be in my thoughts.  If you are one of the lucky ones, be sure to tell your dad how much you love him because life is too short for them not to know how you feel.

Happy Father's Day to all of the amazing men out there that bring joy to their wives and heroes to their children.  To my Popsi-lawn and my beloved husband, I love you.

The Blind Leading the Blind

Two parents.  Two educated, intelligent, common-sense-having parents.  In a matter of minutes they are transformed from knowing a thing or two about life and encompassing the ability to problem solve, into two bumbling fools without a clue about how to handle the antics of a toddler.

Last night was the worst tantrum to date.  I'm starting to wonder when we will have a peaceful dinner again.  We put Baby Boy's dinner in front of him, it consisted of a turkey hot dog, some cheese, and some rice with black beans and peas.  All things that he has eaten and loved in the past.  The hot dog and cheese are always the first things to go.  Once they are gone he does his sign for "more" and "please" even though he still has a plate of food in front of him.  He does not want his rice, beans or peas, all he wants is hot dog and cheese.  So we explain to him that he can't have more until he eats some of the other stuff.  This evokes a tantrum.  He throws his sippy on the floor, he shakes his head and flings his arms around when offered the remaining food on his plate. 

At this point Hubby and I aren't in full desperation mode we simply begin trying different tactics.  I think maybe he doesn't like a spoonful of rice, beans and peas.  Maybe he would prefer his foods to be separate.  So I separate some peas off to the side and miraculously he eats a couple!  Did I just crack the code???  Is the tantrum over???  Nope.  That was just a blip to tease his 'ole ma.  The crying got worse and at this point there was no calming him down.  So... we put him in his crib, shut the door and let him cry it out for a solid 45 minutes. 

Some of you may be thinking, "what's the big deal?"  "The kid likes hot dogs and cheese so give him more hot dogs and cheese."  "He will be happy and you can get on with dinner!"  I hear ya, but if we do that what are we really teaching him?  I don't care that he is only 14 months old, he is smart enough to know what it takes to get a rise out of mom and dad and what it takes to get his way.  We can't cater to his every whimper.  He needs vegetables and he needs to eat what we have in front of him for dinner.  We are not going to make him multiple items in one night until we find the one he likes.  He needs to learn the "house rules."  Know what I mean?  At least that is what we are attempting to do.  My explanation may sound like we are hard asses and our approach of letting him cry it out may seem a bit rough but overall it was what Hubby and I decided was best. 

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The truth is, although we decided it was the best thing to do we still have no clue if we are doing any of it right.  Did we handle it correctly?  Is there something else we could have done to accomplish the same thing?  It wasn't easy.  Of course as my son is screaming his head off because he is upset I instinctively want to "make it better."  I WANT to give him hot dogs and cheese.  I WANT him to be happy. But my husband helps me to see that in the long run I'm really NOT helping him by always giving him what he wants.  I definitely had tears in my eyes as he cried for 45 minutes straight.  That was just as hard on us as it probably was for Baby Boy.  Hubby and I are also trying to get on the same page when it comes to disciplining.  We both want the same end result but there are times when we both think there is a better way to get there.  Or what's worse is when one or both of us has no clue.  The blind leading the blind.  But thankfully we always talk through it and find a common ground that works for us both.  (Thanks for that Hubs.  I love you.)  

We all survived last night's tantrum.  Baby Boy finally calmed down and when he did he was put back in his high chair and he was given the rest of his hot dog only because he was no longer throwing a fit. (sigh)  Now if only I can track down the "How to be a Perfect Parent Manual."  It is out there somewhere, isn't it???      

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Self-loathing, No More! For now...

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I first told you about my struggles with self-loathing and my action plan to put an end to it here.  I also shared with you how it was going and things I was struggling with here and here.  The last post about this topic was on May 3rd and since then I have decided to cease and desist my "plan."

Since I started my mission of getting healthier I have lost weight and I have been feeling better about myself.  The negative self-talk still creeps in and it is something that I will continue to fight against.  However, my situation has changed since I first set out to tackle my demons.  I'm pregnant now and being healthy takes on a whole new meaning when you are no longer the only person to take into consideration.

Losing weight is no longer my top priority.  My new top priority is to be as healthy as possible by eating balanced meals, increasing my protein and enjoying plenty of vitamin rich foods.  I have also employed my trusty nalgene bottle to help track how much water I am drinking.  I go on 30-40 minute walks at least 4-5 days a week and I will soon be resuming prenatal yoga.

I'm not going to lie, losing weight as a result of my efforts has been great and the idea that I am about to pack on 30 pounds once again that took me over a year to get off is a bit daunting.  However, the ultimate reason that I have decided to abandon my "plan" is because... I love being pregnant!  I know that is fortunate for me because not every woman does.  I feel bad for those that don't love it, not because I think they should, but because I think society makes them feel like they should.  Almost like if they don't revel in being pregnant that must mean they aren't connected to their baby some way.  It just isn't fair!  I've known moms that love and adore their children but didn't necessarily loooove being pregnant.  There is nothing wrong with that!   

My belly w/ Baby Boy

I happen to love being pregnant for so many reasons.  First and foremost, I appreciate being pregnant.  Believe me when I say that I have never taken for granted the fact that I have been fortunate enough to A) conceive, B) have a successful pregnancy, and C) have a successful birth.  Those three things are all miracles in and of themselves and I am very grateful for what I have and very hopeful for what is on its way.  Life is precious and it is fragile and always remembering that is very important to me.

Another reason that I love being pregnant is that I feel beautiful.  Sure your body changes, you get bigger, you have aches and pains, you pee every 5 minutes, and you snore like a grizzly bear, etc.  From what I've shared with you about myself you may think going through the "glamorous" changes that accompany pregnancy would have me feeling more self-conscious.  It is actually the exact opposite.  I loved my growing belly and I was in awe of my body.  I would stand nehked in front of the mirror and I wouldn't cringe, I wouldn't say awful and negative things about myself.  I would proclaim out loud that I looked good and how beautiful I felt.  I was confident, proud and happy and I'm already feeling the same way this time around and I don't even have a bump yet! 

I'm not sure why my confidence and pride shifts this way...  I'm not sure why I've wasted so many years of my life consumed with all of this negative self-talk and such meager self-worth.  I'm still determined to beat it and although my "Self-loathing, No More" project is on hiatus I feel that it is a journey I will continue on.  Until then I will relish in my pregnancy and I will enjoy rockin' my bouncy baby bod!

Do/did you enjoy being pregnant?  Do you have any secrets to squashing negative self-talk?  Please do share! ;)    

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Five Things

So this is writer's block...  Or is it, "blogger's block?"  I've got plenty going on in my life but all of the topics seem random and not complete enough to blog about.  So instead of another day passing by I thought I'd take a note from some of my favorite bloggers out there and do a list.  Today's list will be:

Five Random Things Going on in My Life at the Moment

Please try to remain calm.  I know you are on the edge of your seat right now.

  1. I'm on the 4th straight day of no morning sickness!!!  I am wishing with all of my might that it is behind me now.
  2. It has happened... my son came home from daycare with bite marks on his arm.  I'm trying to decide if I should hunt down the little turd that bit him and bite them back?  Or...  talk to the daycare teacher and ask how they handle the situation.  I think I know the answer.  
  3.  I'm dying to cook something.  Since I've been feeling so poorly for 5 weeks I haven't made a single thing.  That is rare for me.  Hubby and I usually take turns with dinners throughout the week and we love to cook on the weekends and I especially love to make breakfast.  Since I was feeling better this weekend I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast on Sunday and I have a great family-friendly meal planned for later this week.  I will definitely be sharing that recipe here!
  4. I flipped through TWO magazines cover-to-cover last night.  Yes, two.  Baby Boy was in bed by 7:30pm and Hubby was watching Hockey so I nuzzled deep into the couch, dusted the cobwebs off of my favorite magazines and didn't come up for air until they were done.  I haven't done that for... well... I can't even remember how long its been!  Want to know how dorky I really am?  They were FoodNetwork magazines.  I love them so much!  I used to get so many other food magazines as well but this one is currently my fav.  
  5. We are calling the little life growing inside of me, P-Nut. Yes, I am aware that is not the correct way to spell "peanut" but we wanted to spell it differently for fun.  Any 311 fans out there?  Hubby is a HUGE fan and by proxy I am as well.  The bassist is Aaron "P-Nut" Wills, so when we decided to call our new addition "peanut" we just thought it would be fun to spell it differently.  We always like to put our own spin on things.  ;)

Has your child been bitten at daycare or school?  Do you love to cook?  What's your favorite magazine(s)?  Did you have a nickname for your growing baby? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tantrum Conundrum

Am I the only naive first time mother out there that thought temper tantrums weren't supposed to kick in until 2 years old?  I'm not sure where I got that idea but somehow I was under the impression that we'd have smooth sailing until the so-called "terrible two's" kicked in.  Boy was I wrong!

My darling little 14 month old started in with the tantrums about a week after turning one!  In the beginning they were completely random and usually corresponded with sleepiness.  Now they typically occur during what I so lovingly refer to as "the witching hours," between 5-7pm.  If you set him down when he'd rather be held... tantrum.  If you close a door he would rather have open... tantrum.  If he points to outside and does his sign for "more" (translation: I want to go outside right now) and you tell him, "in a minute"... tantrum.

The worst is dinner time.  It has turned into a battle royale! 

(photo credit)
"In one corner, we have a head strong toddler that will not buckle by eating any tasty treat you put in front of him!"

"In the other corner we have two desperate parents attempting to be as head strong as their toddler by not caving and giving in to the tough guy's demands!"

"Who will win?  It's any body's guess!  Will the toddler get tired and eat the dinner that was served that night or will the parents buckle in an attempt to have a peaceful dinner and give the toddler blueberries because it is the only thing he will eat?!?!?"

Here's my problem...  I want to help my son.  I know I have to be strong and I can't let him get the better of me every time he throws a fit.  On the other hand I am constantly asking myself this question, "is Baby Boy giving me a hard time or is he going through a hard time?"  Is he truly testing his boundaries with us and attempting to get his way or is he teething, tired, and maybe, just maybe, he genuinely doesn't like what we've given him to eat?  I'm screwed, aren't I?

One thing I tried recently was asking daycare how they handle his tantrums and if he gives them a hard time during meals.  I couldn't believe their response.  "Baby Boy NEVER throws tantrums and meals are never an issue."  WHAT?!?!?  Apparently he saves his tantrums for us.  Gee, thanks?

Hubby and I are not going down without a fight!  We've made some changes to our dinner routine and we've purchased a new high chair/booster seat which allows Baby Boy to be at the table with us.  I'm hoping are efforts aren't futile.  Wish us luck!

Do you have a trantruming toddler?  What tips and tricks do you use?  Have any helpful advice for us?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My tips for telling your boss you're pregnant

Yesterday I shared how it went when I told my boss I was pregnant.  It's hard to say if this time was better than the last time. When I shared the news I was expecting Little C he simply said, "no you're not." "Tell me you're joking." So I think, "congratulations?" is a step in the right direction.

I wanted to share with you that on both occasions I did not just march into his office, proclaim my pregnancy status and march back out.  Both occasions had much thought and consideration put into them before I spilled the beans.  I even did some research ahead of time.  I looked on a few different websites but I liked BabyCenter best.  The main points that I want to leave you with are:

Do your research
  • Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Department of Labor's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Unfortunately, if you work for a small business this act may not apply to you.  Make sure you know where your company stands.
  • Find out what your maternity leave options are.  Consult your HR person, ask other employees that have gone through the same thing, etc.
Have a plan
  • Even though your leave will take 9 months to arrive you should already be thinking about how much time you want to take off.
  • Depending on your role you should also have a plan in mind regarding how your duties will be covered in your absence.  Will the company need to hire a temp?  Can your duties be divided amongst other co-workers?  Will you be available to work a bit from home?
  • Have this plan well thought out and be prepared to share it with your boss when you tell them the news.  It will reflect well that you have taken time to think things through.  Even if your ideas aren't the direction things end up going, at least you put forth the effort and your boss should appreciate that.
Don't make promises
  • No one can predict the future.  You may have every intention of returning to work after the baby is born but until you are actually holding that sweet little bundle there is no telling how you will feel about returning to the grind.  No matter how much you love your job you may discover that staying home with your child is your new lot in life.  There is nothing wrong with that and I can guarantee your boss is shaking in their booties thinking about that very thing happening.  With both of my pregnancies I was clear to say, "As long as I am healthy and my baby is healthy then I have every intention of returning to my role."  
Don't let your work suffer
  • This can be super hard when you feel sick all day, your exhausted, uncomfortable, have to pee every 5 minutes, your back hurts, etc.  Being pregnant isn't an excuse for taking it easy.  Remain professional and continue to do the same amazing work that you have always done.
Don't stand for discrimination
  • Know your rights here.  It is possible that you will be treated differently while pregnant.  Don't stand for it and be sure to consult your HR person right away. 
I hope your news is taken positively and you are able to work in a supportive environment.  Just remember, you are a valuable asset to your company and as long as you demonstrate that, pregnant or not, you should be just fine.  Good luck!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Power of a Heartbeat

Yesterday's 8 week check up went perfectly.   I was so thrilled to see that spot on the screen and the tiniest little flicker of a heartbeat.  Yes, a heartbeat!  I still can't believe how fast a baby develops.  It leaves me in awe and it reminds me how fragile and special a little life is.

After the ultra sound we had a meeting with a nurse practitioner to address any questions or concerns that we might have.  Since this is our second baby our list of questions were much smaller.  At least our list of pregnancy related questions are smaller but our list of logistical, "how are we going to make this work" type of questions were much, much longer!

At the very beginning of the appointment the nurse practitioner looked at us both and said, "so tell me... what are you worried about?"  "What are your concerns?"  Hubby and I looked at each other and without saying a word I could see the list of worries and concerns racing through our heads like NASDAQ quotes on Wall Street!  I knew the nurse wanted to know about the things we had concerns about regarding our pregnancy and not so much about the millions of other things on our minds.  Things like:
  • How are we going to afford two babies in daycare full-time?
  • How are we going to afford two babies, period?
  • How am I going to be able to juggle the work-life-balance as a mother of two?
  • Where is the new baby going to sleep?
  • Baby Boy might be too young for a "big boy bed" when the new baby arrives so will we need two cribs?
  • Is Baby Boy going to be missing out on special time with his mommy and daddy because of the new baby?
  • Is the new baby going to miss out on special mommy and daddy time because we have our hands full with a toddler too?
  • How is my boss going to react when I tell him?
  • How is this labor going to go?
  • Will the new baby and I have a better run at breastfeeding?
And those are just a few!  Then of course, my dear friend GUILT joins the party and I feel bad for stressing in the first place.  When we learned we were expecting Baby Boy we were thrilled and we spent the following 9 months in "baby bliss land" where everything was exciting and fun.  Sure we had logistical things to work out and there was some stress and anxiety about being first time parents, but it didn't feel like this...

I feel bad that the new baby wasn't immediately greeted with the same overwhelming joy.  Please don't hate me.  I know that sounds very, very bad and I should clarify something.  Baby #2 was ALWAYS in our plan.  However, we genuinely thought it would take us a while to conceive as it took us over a year with Baby Boy.  We were naive enough to think our first time out of the gates wouldn't lead to the obvious.  So although we were trying for Baby #2 when it became a reality we were still a bit surprised.  I feel guilty that the new baby was greeted with shock and stress.  This baby deserves the same excitement and overwhelming joy that Baby Boy did. 

We are expanding our family and when I think of how much fun we've had over the past year with our son I get excited to share that with another baby.  I can't deny that I also think of how much we've struggled over the past year.  Baby Boy was constantly sick from being in daycare full time.  I missed a lot of work and had to make up for it whenever possible.  We struggled financially.  But, and this is a big "but", the love and sense of family we've experienced over the past year is so powerful and amazing that any struggle we faced can be forgotten. 

Although we have a number of logistics to go over and we may experience some stress along the way I have shifted gears and am dedicated to giving the same attention and excitement toward our Baby #2 as we did with #1.  So my initial reaction, although very real and honest, is now replaced by happiness and joy. Seeing that flutter of a heartbeat brought me right back to that "baby bliss land" and I couldn't be happier!  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sick as dogs!

Where does that phrase even come from?  Why do we say we are "sick as dogs" anyways?  Why do dogs get the bad wrap?  I'm so glad you asked!  (You did ask... didn't you?)  I did a little research and here is what I found out:

"Sick as a dog," which means "extremely sick" and dates back to at least the 17th century, is also not so much negative as it is simply descriptive. Anyone who knows dogs knows that while they can and often will eat absolutely anything, on those occasions when their diet disagrees with them the results can be quite dramatic. And while Americans may consider themselves "sick" when they have a bad cold, in Britain that would be called "feeling ill." "Being sick" in Britain usually means "to vomit."

So to really appreciate the original sense of "sick as a dog," imagine yourself seated in the parlor having tea with the Vicar on a lovely Sunday afternoon, when Fido staggers in from a meal of sun-dried woodchuck and expresses his unease all over your heirloom oriental carpet. It's actually rather amazing that goldfish aren't more popular.  

Isn't your day complete now?  Don't you feel like your Monday has now taken on a whole new meaning and you can finish it off with gusto!  Glad I could be of assistance. 

Now where was I... Oh yeah!  Sick as dogs!!!  It was a looooong weekend.  Not in the fun, vacation sort of way but rather the whole-family-is-sick-and-feeling-miserable sort of way. :(  Hubby had a 102.0 fever and body aches Thursday night and into Friday.  He was back to normal by Saturday (which may or may not have had something to do with his scheduled golf game with Dad and bro for his birthday).  But he was left with killer sinus pressure and headaches for the remainder of the weekend.  Poor birthday boy! 

I caught a gnarly sinus/cold/coughing thingy that has left me feeling more run down and exhausted on top of my morning sickness and pregnancy exhaustion I was already suffering from.  Then there is my precious little Baby Boy.  High fever and throwing up all weekend.  I mean seriously!!  This kid cannot catch a break!  It seems like it is always something... 

Good news is we are all on the mend.  Still not 100% but much, much better than the past two days.  I was determined to not be too sick for today because in about 5 minutes I am off to the doctor's for my 8 week check up!!  I cannot wait to see the baby "spot" on the screen and to hear that everything is healthy and on track.  At least that is what I am praying and hoping for.  Please keep my little family in your thoughts and I will look forward to updating everyone soon!

I hope you all had a better weekend than I did.  Did you do anything fun?  If so, please share!  I would love to live vicariously through you and your awesomeness!